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WPA must ensure it’s on the right side of history

first_imgDear Editor,We are now past the midway point of the APNU+AFC government in office. It is that time when the Government is taking stock of its performance in office and actively preparing for the next elections. It is in this light that the firing of Dr David Hinds and Lincoln Lewis as columnists must be examined.There is a general consensus that both Hinds and Lewis were critics of the Government, despite the fact that they were also supporters of the Government — not unusual roles for these two persons with a long history in the political struggle of Guyana. They both were outspoken critics of the PPP/C government, and worked for the removal of the PPP/C regime.There is a fundamental difference between critique and criticism. It is one thing to tell someone that their shoes need polishing in order to raise them up to a higher level. It is another thing to say that their shoes need polishing in order to ridicule them.Hinds and Lewis should have been appreciated for the role they played in alerting the regime to the shortcomings of the Government policies, providing an invaluable service, one that the supporters of the regime did not perform, perhaps blinded by a narcissistic impulse of party loyalty gaining paramountcy over critical thinking.It was rather ingenious for the AFC, several months ago, to claim that David Hinds was the beneficiary of the freedom that the present regime had fought for. The AFC obviously has no understanding of the historical struggle for Guyana’s freedom. Dr. Hinds spent several years in Burnham’s prison in his effort to rid Guyana of a dictatorship. So did Tacuma Ogunseye. These men do not roll over and play dead in the struggle for democracy. They did not do it in the darkest of days, and it is unlikely that they will do so now.What is not a self-evident truth is who were responsible for the firing of these two columnists from the state-owned Guyana Chronicle. There has been many readings of the tea leaves on this matter, and any gestalt psychologist will interpret the speculations with extreme caution.Were the WPA totally compliant with the Government in terms of lauding all of its efforts in governing, it would have been welcomed as a dutiful member of the Government. Unfortunately, the WPA is burdened with its history of fighting against the PNC dictatorship, and is held to a higher standard than the other political parties. This is expected as a birthright, given the assassination of its leader, Dr. Walter Rodney, and other activists that lost their lives in the struggle against the PNC dictatorship.If the assault on Dr David Hinds is symptomatic of the contempt for the WPA by the PNC/R and the AFC, it is a foregone conclusion that the current Government seems convinced that the criticism by the WPA and its members is a serious liability in the forthcoming elections.Tacuma Ogunseye’s historical analysis is rather enlightening, and he made the point that the WPA was accepted into APNU not as a ‘silent’ partner, but one with an uncompromising record of struggle against censorships of all kind.The WPA, having fought to remove the PPP/C and to bring the APNU+AFC regime into power, was expected to give the Government some time to get its act together. Ogunseye noted that in the aftermath of the 2015 elections, the APNU grouping never met to have any discussions regarding governance. During this period, many decisions were taken without consultation with the WPA, despite having troubling consequences for the WPA.The WPA’s exclusion from the decision-making process reached a crisis level last year, leading to an emergency meeting being held. There was much hype after the meeting, but time has revealed that it was just that, hype.The WPA is left with no choice but to sound the warning bell, or be smothered by its silence if it does not rebel or revolt against its treatment by the current Government. Three years is enough time to test the goodwill of the Government towards the WPA.It could not be expected to attack the Government from day one if it felt maltreated, despite the debacle concerning the shutting down of the Walter Rodney Commission of Inquiry. It had to give the Government enough time to have a track record that could be critically examined. It has done so for the past three years, and has paid a terrible price in the process. But it cannot remain silent if it is to remain alive as a viable political entity.We are at a point in the life of the present Government where there is a public outcry for the WPA to remain true to its Rodneyite agenda, for it not to betray the legacy of its assassinated leader. This is a remarkable moment in Guyana’s historical development. Is it possible that this is the historical moment that the WPA has struggled for?Sincerely,Rohit Kanhai,WPA OverseasMember (WPAOA)last_img read more

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Guyana Stores given 3 weeks to fix labour, other infractions

first_imgLocal department store Guyana Stores Limited (GSL) is in hot water after it was flagged by the Social Protection Ministry for various infractions, including unsafe and insanitary working conditions.Guyana Stores Limited flagged for labour, other infractionsFollowing a workplace inspection carried out by the Ministry on February 13, the company was given an ultimatum to rectify the breaches that were unearthed.According to the Ministry on Wednesday, the inspection was carried out by Minister with responsibility for labour, Keith Scott, who observed the infractions of the Labour Act, Chapter 98:01 and the Occupational Safety and Health Act, Chapter 99:10.Among the breaches were the absence of a Health and Safety Policy, the absence of required records such as accident and wages registers which are mandated by law to be kept by employers, and a failure to have a fire extinguisher in the workplace.“Most disturbing of all the breaches were the unsafe and insanitary working conditions which obtained. For example, there were holes in the walls of the ablution area which also had stagnant water on the floor, posing a danger to the health and safety of employees; non-functioning toilets and few working fans and light,” the Ministry outlined in a missive.It went on to say that in addition to oral advice to remedy all observed breaches, the management of Guyana Stores was issued with a written ultimatum to correct the infractions within three weeks beginning February 15, or face prosecution.On this note, the Ministry issued a stern warning to businesses on upholding the labour laws.“The Ministry of Social Protection wishes to reiterate that it has no intention to compromise with the health and safety of the nation’s workforce and will do everything possible to enhance workers’ protection,” the statement added.In light of Guyana Stores Limited being flagged for various infractions and now being asked to correct them, other employers are being encouraged to enhance the level of social protection which they provide to their employees.last_img read more